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NORMAL - Offseason workouts with former major leaguer Tim Bogar didn't just help Tyler Cook's swing, it helped him land a baseball scholarship.

A senior at University High School, Cook has signed a national letter of intent to play baseball at South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C.

"Tim Bogar actually helped me a lot. He's my hitting coach in the winter, and he's good friends with the coach there (Matt Fincher)," Cook said. "He introduced me to him my sophomore year and we stayed in contact. About a month ago, they offered me a scholarship. I went down there and really liked the campus."

A minor league manager, Bogar lives in Bloomington-Normal in the offseason.

Cook was recruited to Upstate on a partial scholarship as an outfielder. He batted .486 with 34 RBI for U High as a senior. He also had a 2.85 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher.

"I'll pitch this summer for the BNBA Gold, but after that my pitching days are over," Cook said. "Hitting for more power would be the biggest thing I need to work on. Overall, I need to get stronger and lift (weights) a little bit more."

Upstate posted a 34-25 record in its final season as a Division II entry. The Spartans' athletic programs are moving to Division I next school year and will join the Atlantic Sun Conference.

"Next year we're going to play South Carolina, Tennessee and Wake Forest. I'll be exposed to good baseball and improve my game," said Cook. "It's a small campus, about 4,000 students. The staff was real nice. I'm excited about it.

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